Charles Wheatstone’s Enchanted Lyre and the Spectacle of Sound

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review

Standard

Charles Wheatstone’s Enchanted Lyre and the Spectacle of Sound. / Dickson, Melissa.

Sound knowledge: music and science in London, 1789-1851. ed. / James Q. Davies; Ellen Lockhart. University of Chicago Press, 2017. p. 125-144.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review

Harvard

Dickson, M 2017, Charles Wheatstone’s Enchanted Lyre and the Spectacle of Sound. in JQ Davies & E Lockhart (eds), Sound knowledge: music and science in London, 1789-1851. University of Chicago Press, pp. 125-144. <https://www.press.uchicago.edu/ucp/books/book/chicago/S/bo24550652.html>

APA

Dickson, M. (2017). Charles Wheatstone’s Enchanted Lyre and the Spectacle of Sound. In J. Q. Davies, & E. Lockhart (Eds.), Sound knowledge: music and science in London, 1789-1851 (pp. 125-144). University of Chicago Press. https://www.press.uchicago.edu/ucp/books/book/chicago/S/bo24550652.html

Vancouver

Dickson M. Charles Wheatstone’s Enchanted Lyre and the Spectacle of Sound. In Davies JQ, Lockhart E, editors, Sound knowledge: music and science in London, 1789-1851. University of Chicago Press. 2017. p. 125-144

Author

Dickson, Melissa. / Charles Wheatstone’s Enchanted Lyre and the Spectacle of Sound. Sound knowledge: music and science in London, 1789-1851. editor / James Q. Davies ; Ellen Lockhart. University of Chicago Press, 2017. pp. 125-144

Bibtex

@inbook{8b02c92f288045219af99b5a5d9ee6c4,
title = "Charles Wheatstone{\textquoteright}s Enchanted Lyre and the Spectacle of Sound",
abstract = "Dickson makes Wheatstone{\textquoteright}s Enchanted Lyre or “Acoucryptophone” the point of departure for a study of fantasies about the materialisation and sight of sound. The Acoucryptophone was one device on display in the young Wheatstone{\textquoteright}s “Musical Museum.” It consisted of a lyre suspended from the ceiling by a brass wire connected to other musical instruments in the room above; when these were played, their sounds would seem to emanate directly from the lyre. For acousticians, the apparatus demonstrated the principle that sound travelled more effectively through metal than through air. But the case of the Enchanted Lyre allows us to see how, in early nineteenth-century London, scientific demonstration could be elided with discourses of the supernatural, or marked with indices of the conjurer{\textquoteright}s act. Dickson considers emerging telegraphic conceptions of “musical sound” as necessarily “abstract, intangible, and ethereal,” showing how such popular-scientific devices as the Enchanted Lyre and Invisible Girl rendered sound-waves visible while displacing the labor of performance. Ultimately, the Enchanted Lyre became both a tangible model of sound waves in action and the means by which to cultivate newly idealized notions of musical sound, sound being configured here as a matter beyond physical embodiment or sensory perception.",
keywords = "Charles Wheatstone, Acoustics, Musical Instruments, acoucryptophone, History of Sound, History of the Senses, Chladni figure, Telegraphy",
author = "Melissa Dickson",
year = "2017",
month = jan,
language = "English",
isbn = "9780226402079",
pages = "125--144",
editor = "Davies, {James Q.} and Ellen Lockhart",
booktitle = "Sound knowledge",
publisher = "University of Chicago Press",
address = "United States",

}

RIS

TY - CHAP

T1 - Charles Wheatstone’s Enchanted Lyre and the Spectacle of Sound

AU - Dickson, Melissa

PY - 2017/1

Y1 - 2017/1

N2 - Dickson makes Wheatstone’s Enchanted Lyre or “Acoucryptophone” the point of departure for a study of fantasies about the materialisation and sight of sound. The Acoucryptophone was one device on display in the young Wheatstone’s “Musical Museum.” It consisted of a lyre suspended from the ceiling by a brass wire connected to other musical instruments in the room above; when these were played, their sounds would seem to emanate directly from the lyre. For acousticians, the apparatus demonstrated the principle that sound travelled more effectively through metal than through air. But the case of the Enchanted Lyre allows us to see how, in early nineteenth-century London, scientific demonstration could be elided with discourses of the supernatural, or marked with indices of the conjurer’s act. Dickson considers emerging telegraphic conceptions of “musical sound” as necessarily “abstract, intangible, and ethereal,” showing how such popular-scientific devices as the Enchanted Lyre and Invisible Girl rendered sound-waves visible while displacing the labor of performance. Ultimately, the Enchanted Lyre became both a tangible model of sound waves in action and the means by which to cultivate newly idealized notions of musical sound, sound being configured here as a matter beyond physical embodiment or sensory perception.

AB - Dickson makes Wheatstone’s Enchanted Lyre or “Acoucryptophone” the point of departure for a study of fantasies about the materialisation and sight of sound. The Acoucryptophone was one device on display in the young Wheatstone’s “Musical Museum.” It consisted of a lyre suspended from the ceiling by a brass wire connected to other musical instruments in the room above; when these were played, their sounds would seem to emanate directly from the lyre. For acousticians, the apparatus demonstrated the principle that sound travelled more effectively through metal than through air. But the case of the Enchanted Lyre allows us to see how, in early nineteenth-century London, scientific demonstration could be elided with discourses of the supernatural, or marked with indices of the conjurer’s act. Dickson considers emerging telegraphic conceptions of “musical sound” as necessarily “abstract, intangible, and ethereal,” showing how such popular-scientific devices as the Enchanted Lyre and Invisible Girl rendered sound-waves visible while displacing the labor of performance. Ultimately, the Enchanted Lyre became both a tangible model of sound waves in action and the means by which to cultivate newly idealized notions of musical sound, sound being configured here as a matter beyond physical embodiment or sensory perception.

KW - Charles Wheatstone

KW - Acoustics

KW - Musical Instruments

KW - acoucryptophone

KW - History of Sound

KW - History of the Senses

KW - Chladni figure

KW - Telegraphy

M3 - Chapter (peer-reviewed)

SN - 9780226402079

SP - 125

EP - 144

BT - Sound knowledge

A2 - Davies, James Q.

A2 - Lockhart, Ellen

PB - University of Chicago Press

ER -